“Writing is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice: once in reality and once more in the mirror which waits always before and behind him.” Donald Murray
[Donald Murray was a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and a teacher at the University of New Hampshire. Known for using the phrase “nulla dies sine linea” or “never a day without a line,” he wrote several books on writing. ]
As I write my novel, I find that the most enjoyable parts are when I recall specific times or items from my childhood. Pouring grape Kool-Aid into a shiny red tin glass and seeing the drink appear black, smelling fresh homemade cinnamon rolls just out of the oven, feeling the crisp winter air as we ran through the park, playing “Duck-Duck-Goose,” watching John Glenn blast into space on a 13 inch black and white television screen– these memories bring joy as I include them in my novel. At the time the events occurred, I was a child with no prior experience or bias to taint them.
As I write about these things, I relive those moments in time. A tear may come to my eye as I think about the innocence of youth and all that has transpired since, but the main emotion is joy. I am grateful to have those memories and to be able to express them.
My main character is recalling these events as he attempts suicide by sitting in an enclosed car inside his garage. Though fictionalized, this, too, is based on a memory.
I often write about things I have experienced. It is a way for me to sort out my feelings and organize my thoughts. I can analyze the meaning of events and try to make sense of situations, good or bad.
As Yogi Berra said, “It’s like deja vu all over again!”
(John Fogerty singing Deja Vu which tells of war being repetitive. He is a vet, so his songwriting reflects his life as well.)